Travel Trouble

New "Polar Bear Hotel" in China sparks outrage

New "Polar Bear Hotel" in China sparks outrage

A hotel that bills itself as the world's first "polar bear hotel" has opened in China's far northeastern Heilongjiang province, drawing both guests and criticism for its central feature: live polar bears.

The Polar Bear Hotel, part of the Harbin Polarland theme park, opened its doors on Friday with the promise of round-the-clock polar bear viewing from all 21 guest rooms.

“Whether you’re eating, playing or sleeping, polar bears will keep you company,” Harbin Polarland’s official WeChat account said in a post dated March 11.

Yang Liu, a spokeswoman for Harbin Polarland spoke to Reuters and revealed the bears remain indoors and are let outside when temperature and air quality permit.

She said interest in staying at the hotel was "very high", saying it is fully booked through a trial period.

Conservationists criticised the hotel.

“Polar bears belong in the Arctic, not in zoos or glass boxes in aquariums - and certainly not in hotels,” Jason Baker, senior vice president at animal rights group PETA, told Reuters.

“Polar bears are active for up to 18 hours a day in nature, roaming home ranges that can span thousands of miles, where they enjoy a real life.”

“It is shocking and heartbreaking to see an enclosure like this, in this time and age, that houses polar bears in such appalling environments purely for entertainment,” ACRES co-CEO Anbarasi Boopal said.